Today’s Scripture Focus: I John 5:1-9
What do we mean when we use the name “Jesus Christ”? “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name. Christos is the Greek word for the Hebrew term mashiach (English “messiah”), which means “anointed”. The Old Testament prophets foretold a future king, descended from the house of David, that would one day deliver God’s people and lead them with justice and righteousness. By New Testament times, there were several main thoughts of who this messiah would be—a human conqueror like David, a divine spirit being like Michael, a priest like Aaron, or two different messiahs—priest and king—who worked together.
Jesus the Christ was all of these. He was human, divine, priest, and king. In today’s scripture focus, John returns to the theme of assurance. How do you know that you are truly born of God? If you believe that Jesus is Christ. In other words, the “true believers” confessed that Jesus was both human and divine, and that He really was God’s Son. You cannot love God without loving God’s Son, Jesus. You cannot know God without knowing God’s Son, Jesus. And, you cannot serve God without serving God’s Son, Jesus. How do you love, know, and serve Jesus? By loving everyone who also loves, knows, and serves Jesus.
Serving God, writes John, is actually quite simple—love God, and love others. This kind of love is powered by faith. The term “faith” appears repeatedly in this chapter. Faith means believing that Jesus is the Christ, then putting that faith into action by loving God and others. In other words, faith means faithfulness. The group that had split off from the church in Ephesus had proven to be faithless. They did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, and had proven their disbelief by failing to love God and God’s people. But those who remained faithful would be victorious and overcome the world.
Yet the question remains—how do we know that the Jesus we are loving and serving is really Jesus Christ? In the world of the Bible, two witnesses were required to convict a person in court, and three witnesses practically indisputable. John offers three witnesses to the nature of Jesus—water, blood, and Spirit. Water refers to Jesus’ baptism, and blood speaks to Jesus’ death. The Spirit refers to the testimony of God. If human testimony is valid, how much more valid is the testimony of God. In summary, we can know in our hearts we are Christians if we believe that Jesus is God’s Son and our Savior, and we obey God’s command to love through faith and the Spirit.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
According to today’s scripture focus, who is born of God? What does it mean to be born of God?
What is “faith”? What does it mean for faith to overcome the world?
Do you sometimes struggle to believe that there really was a person who lived named Jesus, and that He was really God? It is normal at times to experience doubt. Pray that God will help those struggling to remain faithful in doubt until heart assurance returns.